Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Another Open Letter In Support of California's K-12 Academic Content Standards

On July 7th, 2006, California's two most recent former governors signed a joint letter in support of California's content standards. On July 21st, I posted about an open letter by California professors in support of the governors' letter and the state's academic content standards.

Here's another link to that letter by the academics. It's got a few new names, some of them very well known and respected in their fields.

Because the school at which I teach is in an upscale area and many students go on to college/university, many of the teachers at my school (especially the old-timers) like to think of our school as a "college prep" school. Yet, at the same time, they deplore the very state standards that all these university professors think are critical for our K-12 students.

Quite the disconnect.


Anonymous said...

Don't dismiss their views if you don't actually know why they hold them.

Edu-circles often display a depressing cyclical pattern of fad after fad after fad. When someone notices this, it becomes very difficult for them to embrace whatever they perceive is part of a new fad.

For example-- as you know-- in math circles, the new math (attacked by Morris Kline in his 1973 book "Why Johnny Can't Add") was followed by the back-to-basics movement, which was followed by the new-new math. The new-new math is still embraced by many, but it appears to be on its way out, at least in some places. Since I am now out of K-12, I have not followed the development of the new California standards, so I can't say with any authority to what extent they are influenced by the new-new math. Nevertheless, the cyclical nature of edu-circles is a well-known feature to just about everyone who has been an edu-circle insider for any significant length of time. We insiders know all too well that those who are ignorant of, or who forget the past will inevitably repeat it.

I don't know the old-school people at your campus, but if they have reasonably high standards, and they haven't given in to temptations we've discussed elsewhere, maybe they are entitled-- at least a little-- to express disdain for these standards. In other words, maybe they think "if it ain't broke, why fix it?"

Darren said...

Two reasons.

1. Our school isn't as great as we'd like to think. Last year we were identified as a 10/1 school. With California's schools divided into 10 deciles, our standardized test scores put us in the top decile in the state. However, when compared to 100 schools with similar demographics, our school ranked in the bottom decile. In other words, over 90% of schools with students similar to ours do a better job on state testing.

2. We're employees of the school district, not private contractors. If the school district says we're supposed to align our curriculum to the state standards, then that's what we do.

rightwingprof said...

Speaking of disconnections and academic standards, see this -- which isn't unlike this disconnection from reality.

Anonymous said...

Many teachers in CA have fallen under the authority of NCTM. However, as state employees we are under the authority of the CDE. In addition, E.C. 66030 requires that all students receive equal access regardless of skin color. Goodbye Discovering Geometry and CPM.